Winston-Salem is ‘nowhere close’ to lifting mask mandate, official says

Winston-Salem is ‘nowhere close’ to lifting mask mandate, official says

1:58pm Dec 08, 2021
COVID-19 metrics are again trending upward in Forsyth County. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

Forsyth County is averaging about 100 new COVID-19 cases per day, nearly double the rate from a month ago. The percent positive metric is also up. About 9% of tests in the county are now coming back positive, compared to 5.8% in early November. That's according to a presentation by the county's public health department. 

County Public Health Director Joshua Swift says this means Winston-Salem is now "nowhere close" to hitting the metrics needed to lift the mask mandate. 

“I just think the numbers speak for themselves. You know, those metrics — we're looking at the percent positivity and the case rate. And throughout October, even into the first of November those were headed down, where it looked like we were going to meet those targets," says Swift. "But since about that second week of November it's been going up.”

Swift says he expects cases to continue to rise as holiday travel increases and the omicron variant arrives in North Carolina. 

There is still some good news though. About 70% of the county’s adults are now fully vaccinated. And 16% of children between the ages of five and 11 have gotten at least one dose. 

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